The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, intellectual property protection and access to medicines

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SSRN | 27 June 2016

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, intellectual property protection and access to medicines

by Belinda Townsend (Deakin University - School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Deborah Gleeson (La Trobe University), Ruth Lopert (George Washington University - Department of Health Policy & Management; LWC Health)

Abstract

The inclusion of elevated standards of intellectual property protection in the recently negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement has raised serious public health concerns regarding access to medicines. A lesser-known trade agreement under negotiation in the Asia Pacific region is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Framed as an attempt to reassert ASEAN’s position in response to the United States-led TPP, RCEP includes key players China and India, as well as several low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Leaked drafts of intellectual property provisions proposed by Japan and South Korea raise similar concerns for access to medicines in the Asia-Pacific region. This paper identifies TRIPS-Plus provisions in leaked negotiating texts and examines their implications for those LMICs that are not also parties to the TPP: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, China, and India.

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source: SSRN